This case study shows how Team Sociomapping can be leveraged to prepare teams for team leaders leaving and to prepare them for a new phase of leadership.
Change in leadership is quite common for most teams and departments. These situations can pose many risks and dangers. Team need to be thoroughly prepared for this scenario and all communication channels in which the team leader was engaged should be delegated to his or her successor or another team member. Another risk is that even if team members have prior knowledge of a change in leadership, they often continue to communicate in the same ways as before and they don’t acknowledge and properly react to the new situation. Communication chaos sets in after the team leader leaves. It is essential for the team to come to terms with the reality of the situation and to establish new communication channels that allows for an easy transition for a new leader.
Sociomapping was performed on the team, which consisted of 4 departments: Sales and Marketing; Customer, Development and Project support; HR; and Web development. The team’s head was leaving in the near future. It was planed that his position was to be taken over by one of the current team members.
Main issues and approach
The main problem that had to be solved was the departure of the current team leader. Therefore, Team Sociomapping of communication was performed on the team with a focus on two primary areas of interest: 1) frequency of communication, actual as well as optimal; and 2) importance of communication. The combination of these two elements provided team members with an image of the team’s preparedness for the departure of the current leader. Another necessary part of Team Sociomapping has been a development workshop, where results are presented to the team and action plans are adopted.
Sociomaps of current and optimal (own desire) frequency of communication show that the team’s head, Jakob, would like to optimally cut back his position in frequency of communication within the team. Also essential to note is the current lack of frequency of communication from Sara, who will take over Jakob’s position. However, Sara wants her communication to be optimal.
Socioomaps of optimal frequency of communication (as desired by others) and importance of communication show that the team was not prepared enough for Jakob’s departure. Team members would like to communicate with Jakob even more frequently and consider communication with him to be most important. Sara’s position is again rather average.
Sociomapping analysis showed that the department wasn’t prepared for Jakob’s departure. Jakob wants to cut back his participation on the team, but at the same time, other team members, even about the one’s who are aware of his leaving, would like to continue communicating with him even more and they assess the importance of communicating with him as the highest priority. His successor, Sara, doesn’t hold a strong enough position within the team to satisfy team members’ communication needs.
A visual image of the situation in the team using sociomaps provided team members with a clear image of the communication situation within the team and provided an awareness of the necessity to modify communication channels within the team. Action plans were adopted, which helped establish channels of communication within the team in regards to Jakob’s departure and Sara’s promotion. A unique feature of Team Sociomapping is the ability to display results in a clear and understandable visual form, which helps individual team members to personally identify with the results.